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Monday, May 30, 2011

This Memorial Day

Today, on Memorial Day, a young man - just 21 years old - will be buried.

About a week and a half ago Cheizray Pressley died while serving in Afghanistan. I didn't personally know him and would have probably never even heard of him if not for the fact that his death made local news. He was from North Charleston, SC. He graduated in 2008 from a high school right down the street from where I live. So when he was killed in Afghanistan, his death made the news here.
(photo copyright by WCSC TV Charleston, SC)
He was in the Army stationed in Alaska and had recently deployed to Afghanistan.

On Friday, May 27, his body returned home when his casket arrived at Joint Base Charleston. Joe and I went to the base to pay our respects and honor this young man.

It was the first time I've ever witnessed, or been a part of, a dignified transfer of remains.
(photo copyright from WCSC TV Charleston, SC)

We lined the streets awaiting the caravan that would follow the hearse from the base to the funeral home.

I was not prepared for how emotional I would become watching the procession leave the flight line.

(photo copyright from WCSC TV Charleston, SC)

First came the police escorts, the motorcycles - Patriot Guard riders, vehicles containing family and friends, the hearse, and more police escorts.

By the time the hearse passed by with his flag-draped coffin visible, I was in tears.

Just 21 years old. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.

His funeral is today.

For a lot of Americans Memorial Day has become just another holiday off and stores with sales.

Let us take a moment to remember all those who have, or are serving, and those who have given their lives in service. Let us remember the thousands and thousands who are currently deployed and not able to enjoy a holiday off.

Let us not forget what this holiday is about.

Rest in peace Private First Class Cheizray Pressley.

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Kim @ Stuff could... said...

This post brings tears to my eyes now. I think as Moms we do have a feeling of what a sacrifice that young man made.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing, my brothers return was very similar, heart breaking and beautiful at the same time.

Mom24 said...

What a beautiful, respectful post. I am sad that we don't see more of the effects of war, the returning of the bodies. It's too easy to go about our daily lives and not think of the sacrifices so many are making for all of us.

Lacey said...

I'm in tears just reading this, how hard that would be to see in person. But great to be there to honor this young man.
I have to prepare myself to be a military mom. My oldest has loved the military since he was a toddler. At 12, he can tell me about any war in history, and all the military planes and vehicles. He will some day be a part of our military! Which makes me proud and scares the bejesus out of me at the same time!